Chef Anastacia Quinones

Chef Anastacia Quinones

Louis DeLuca/Staff Photographer

As resignations go, it was short, abrupt and highly public: Anastacia Quiñones, the innovative chef behind the recently revamped menu at Dallas restaurant Cedars Socíal, took to Facebook on Thursday afternoon to announce that she has left the restaurant.

Her post, in full:

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce my split from The Cedars Socíal. For 8 months I poured my heart and soul into every sauce, dish, flavored masa, taco and plate I created. Unfortunately, The Cedars Socíal will be going in a different direction. I'll be taking some much needed time off to spend with my family but dont worry I'll be back soon!"

Amid dozens of surprised comments from the Dallas food community, Quiñones' only additional response was a two-word reply about a new direction for the restaurant: "Tex Mex."

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Quiñones has been at the forefront of modern Mexican cooking in Dallas since 2011, when she headed the kitchen at Alma, a groundbreaking if short-lived restaurant on Henderson Avenue. After that, she was chef at Oddfellows in Bishop Arts, and then took on Cedars Socíal, moving it from a craft cocktail establishment to a fully conceived restaurant with a creative, ever-changing menu of modern Mexican dishes such as ceviches using seasonal fruit, light salads and braised short ribs with posole grits and purslane.

Quiñones refused interview requests at this time.

Her departure was immediate. Reached by phone less than an hour after the post, the restaurant's owner Monica Greene was already behind the stoves herself, preparing for the night's dinner service. "I'm cooking on the line right now," she said, "and it's very difficult to concentrate and give you a statement."

The next day, Greene explained that she is personally creating a new menu that will be phased in, dish by dish, over the next three to four weeks, and that she will train her current kitchen staff during the transition and return to the front of the house once the new menu is in place. She may not hire a new executive chef. Prices will be lowered, and the name of the restaurant may also change.

"Anastacia created a very good menu that brought a lot of attention to an underappreciated style of food -- Mexican food," Greene said. "You can open a restaurant like this in many places in America and it would be very successful. But America isn't all the same enchilada, and in Dallas you need innovative, creative Mexican food but you also need some traditional Mexican food. You have to have a balance, and I think that balance was missing."

Greene, whose long history in Dallas restaurants includes Ciudad, one of the city's first modern Mexican restaurants, disagreed with the description of her new approach as "Tex Mex." She would say little more about the menu, except that it will offer what people think of "when people say they want to go to a Mexican restaurant," and that it will included at least one enchilada.

Updated at 5:21 p.m. to include comment from the chef.

Updated at 2:40 p.m. to add comments from the owner.

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